So right off the bad let me just say that this kid .... wins.
This 19 year-old kid from Britain legally changed is name to Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined, for about twenty dollars U.S. His grandmother has stated that she is no longer speaking to him because of this drastic decision.
This got me thinking about the name as an identity, as a brand, as a product, as a conception or even a misconception. It does seem a little odd that in the end very few of us have any real roll in deciding our own names, however, we are that ones that shape our names into what they mean to other people. Here are a few examples of names that were given, but now somehow mean something more; Jesus, Elvis, Modanna, Adolf. With only one exception these names were given to babies, babies like any of the rest of us by parents like any other parents who really had no idea what these babies would become and what their names would come to mean.
So Captian Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined, I salute you. Not only for taking charge of your own name - your own identity, but also for stuffing so many awesome superheroes into it as well.
The name in many cultures is something that is developed over years and changes when one matures or passes into adult hood. For Native Americans the name often would be decided by the Vision Quest. As many know, the vision quest was a journey one would go onto to get more acquainted with the spirit world, a guardian animal spirit would present itself to the sojourner and the animal would forever be tied to their identity.
What is our Vision Quest?
This generation, this culture, what do we embark on to secure our place in our society, if anything? What is our identity? Maybe my name would be something like this; Indiana Vedder Gandalf the Stormcrow photographer of the Badlands and the Grand Canyon Forever Born to Run. Chris McCandless changed his name (if not legally) to Alexander Supertramp and journeyed the country until it got the best of him, however during the trip I'm sure he got the best of it for himself while he could.
As a society there are very rights of passage or that are ordained as necessary for our acceptance into an adult life. sure there are things we do, but they are most peer-to-peer agreements that keep us from looking lame in front of cooler friends. Most of our journeys are made from the comfort of our couches looking at the TV, wishing we were there. we begin building our own identity out of the things we saw that made an impact; The last episode of M.A.S.H., the Shuttle exploding, the hostages coming home, Barack Obama being elected president, our favorite cartoons.
I can say - with some reassurance - that if I did have a spirit animal, it would actually be two; A coyote with a rabbit in its mouth. But aside from these few run-ins with my spirit animal in the suburbs near where I live my spirit animal would probably Darkwing Duck or Eek the Cat.